Catherine Holt, The Chamber | Adam Cook, C.N. Canadian National Railway | Minister Claire Trevena | Dan Dagg, The Chamber
Minister Trevena speaks at Chamber luncheon
BC's Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure addressed a sold out gathering today at The Chamber's first Business Leaders Luncheon of 2019. Thank you everyone who came and to C.N. Canadian National Railway for sponsoring the luncheon. Click here to see the photos.

Minister Trevena kept her messages at a high level, acknowledging the frustrations that Greater Victoria commuters have with traffic congestion between the West Shore and the core municipalities.

The Minister pointed to the recently announced South Island Transportation Strategy as her government's plan to solve a problem that has plagued our region for decades.

It won't happen overnight, she cautioned, noting that we have to stop thinking in silos about separate modes of transportation such as rail or highways. Instead, a long-term approach needs to consider all of those modes together, as well as how we can plan to reduce our effect on climate change.

During the follow up question-and-answer session, Chamber CEO Catherine Holt asked if the ministry was also planning to create a regional governance body to make decisions and speed up the implementation of transportation solutions in Greater Victoria.
The Minister was attentive to the idea of a regional transportation commission, but admitted, "At the moment, what we're looking at is the infrastructure and how we get people from A to B."

Click here to see the many interesting upcoming speakers in The Chamber's Business Leaders Series.
Chamber News
Business Leaders Luncheons
February Business Mixer
Prodigy Group February Mingle
Event Photos
Upcoming Chamber Events

All eyes on Nanaimo for today's provincial by-election
All eyes will be on Nanaimo tonight awaiting results from the provincial by-election that could see British Columbians heading back to the ballot booths for a general election this year.

Polls close tonight at 8 pm, and preliminary results will be available later in the evening. The final formal count won't be announced until Feb. 6, and will include absentee ballots.

If the government's candidate wins, nothing really changes. But if the opposition candidate takes the seat, the BC Liberals will be tied with the BC NDP/Green coalition at 43 seats each. The Speaker of the House would then have to break any voting ties.
The 2019 BC Budget is set for Feb. 19. What happens after that would be up in the air.

An early poll had BC Liberal candidate Tony Harris 13 points ahead of BC NDP candidate Sheila Malcolmson.
Hear Premier John Horgan speak on his government's vision for the Province of British Columbia as well as regional priorities.

Table sponsorships available. More information here.
Sponsored by: 
Tue, Feb 26 | 11:15 am-1:15 pm 
Victoria Conference Centre
720 Douglas St.  

Housing affordability eroding in Canada
It's harder to afford a home in Greater Victoria than anywhere else in Canada. That's the finding of a study that compared the cost of mortgage payments as a percentage of income in 10 Canadian cities.
National Bank of Canada's Housing Affordability Monitor reports that "Victoria experienced the largest deterioration in affordability in the cities observed."
The study pointed to higher interest rates and increased home prices despite the lowest growth in income in five years. It now takes a household with an annual income of $156,127 more than 10 years - 124 months - to save the down payment needed to buy a median-priced $850,469 house.  
To afford a $485,937 condo, a household would need an annual income of $89,207, and spend 50 months saving for a down payment.
Those values add up to an 8.7% increase over one year ago.
Read more about how non-market housing must play an increasing role in our city to ensure workers have a place to live: Catherine Holt: Non-market housing is essential 

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation recently released its Housing Market Assessment for the fourth quarter of 2018. Victoria and Vancouver show the most vulnerability, with price acceleration and overvaluation causing concern.  
House prices are higher than what our region's income level and population can support.

Has Whistler solved its affordable housing crisis?
As Greater Victoria employers struggle to attract and retain employees, it's clear we need to be open to ideas that have worked in other markets.
In the latest edition of Business Matters, our feature story explores how non-market housing plays a role in providing homes for the workforce here and in other countries.
A BC city that seems to have mastered this solution is Whistler. The resort town has a unique approach that might apply to other regions.
In Whistler, the city has placed covenants on land that it owns, restricting the maximum price that housing units on it can be resold for. The homes are only available to people who work in Whistler and don't own any other properties.
You can read more about that story here.

Following a year of strong economic performance in 2018, Minister Bill Morneau will discuss his vision for building a more prosperous Canada that works for everyone.

He will discuss the work the federal government has done to strengthen and grow the middle class, and the steps government is taking to strengthen investor confidence.
Fri, Feb 8 | 7:30 -9 am 
Delta Ocean Pointe Hotel & Spa
100 Harbour Rd.  

Songhees Nation-owned building in Victoria opens its doors to yoga
MokSana Yoga Centre is celebrated its grand
Brianna Dick
opening as the first tenant for the Songhees Nation building at 613 Pandora Ave., which previously housed the Provincial Capital Commission.

Songhees artist Brianna Dick was chosen to paint the mural in the yoga studio space, and says she was influenced by the traditional territory of the Songhees people on Chatham Island. Watch a video of her explaining it here.

The new yoga studio features underfloor heating, infrared heating, showers, tea lounge, and a fabulous boutique.

MokSana Yoga Centre: member since 2004

Songhees Nation: member since 2017

The Chamber's New Co-op Student!
The Chamber is pleased to welcome Julia Macartney as our new Events Assistant. She will be working on recruiting exhibitors for YYJ Eats and assisting on other events throughout the spring.
Julia currently studies at Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, with a specialization in Entrepreneurship for her final semester. Apart from education, Julia has a passion for making delicious dinners with friends, playing the ukulele and working in her garden.
Julia is looking forward to getting a better understanding and new insights into businesses in Victoria by working with our members. Feel free to connect with Julia at the next Chamber event, on LinkedIn, by email or phone at 250-953-6684 to discuss how YYJ Eats can be a great opportunity for you.  
Federal Minister Luncheons
Discover what initiatives the Canadian government has in the works to help businesses be part of the clean revolution at The Chamber's upcoming luncheons.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Hear from Minister Catherine McKenna on the federal government's vision for a cleaner environment and stronger economy.

Mon, Feb 11 | 11:30 am-1 pm
Union Club of British Columbia

Sponsored by: 
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Hear from Minister Jonathan Wilkinson about Canada's future plans for critical fishing habitats, orca conservation and support for industry.

Tuesday, February 12 | 11:30 am-1 pm
Hotel Grand Pacific

Sponsored by: 
Register for both Federal Minister Luncheons and save!
Members Around Town
Business Excellence Awards 
Three Chamber members won awards at the  Business Examiner's 19th Annual Grant Thornton LLP Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards. There were 85 finalists for the annual celebration of the best of the best in Island business, and 17 different categories. Congratulations to our members:
Business Examiner: member since 2009  
$88-million seniors development 
Vancouver-based Element Lifestyle Retirement will start construction this summer on its five-storey, 153,000 square foot complex at the 20-acre Bayview Place site on Songhees. The complex will feature 160 units, including 125 independent and supportive-living suites available for purchase or for rent, and 35 units providing licensed care with its own tailored amenities and activities.  
Bayview Place: member since 2006       
Island Good is here to stay!
Island Good, the campaign to identify food and beverage products made on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, now has a Licensing Application and Licensing Agreement available for interested food producers. What started as a point of sale experiment is now a competitive advantage for anyone in the food & beverage value chain on Vancouver Island (and Gulf Islands). Participating grocery stores like Quality Foods and Thrifty Foods measured 2018 sales against 2017 sales of the same products, in the same locations, in the same stores, in the same months and reported an impressive growth of 16.4%!
Thrifty Foods: member since 1981
Quality Foods: member since 2015 
Supporting people living with mental illness  
Connections Place Society is having a grand opening on Feb. 21 for its new Clubhouse International, an attractive community centre for people with mental illness to find peer support, achieve self-reliance and use their skills and talents to get their lives back on track. Club membership is expected to result in less pressure on social services, less time for people in hospital, less incarcerations and general improvement in the quality of life for people living with mental illness  
Connections Place: member since 2018
March Business Leaders Series
This series features informative breakfast or luncheon presentations by business, government and institutional speakers on various topics. 

BC Ferries has a lot on the go for 2019. For more information on the future of Swartz Bay and on BC Ferries' plans to evolve our coastal ferry system, come to this lunch!
Wed, Mar 6
11:30 am-1 pm
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
728 Humboldt St.
Sponsored b y:  
Breakfast with BC's Information & Privacy Commissioner
Hear fro
m BC's Information and Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy as launches a new suite of digital products to help BC organizations manage their customers' personal information.
Thurs, Mar 7
7:30-9 am
The Union Club of BC
805 Gordon St.  
Sponsored b y:
South Island Prosperity Index Update
The South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) Prosperity Index was developed in 2017 to measure a number of indicators like employment, education, governance, affordability, and innovation. Come and hear what happened to those indicators in 2018. 
Tue, Mar 12
11:30 am-1 pm
Union Club of BC
805 Gordon St.

What to do with your Marie Kondo'd Stuff in Greater Victoria
Does this spark joy? No? Then donate it. But wait,  where does it actually go once you donate it? According to the Globe and Mail, it may be being shipped overseas. And that's not a good thing as the used-clothing export industry doesn't positively impact the people in the receiving country, read more here.   
It's better for everyone involved to keep the donations local - you're helping charities, low-income shoppers and cost-conscious families. The Zone @ 91.3 compiled a great guide , featuring many of our members, for where you can donate your Marie Kondo'd stuff so that it stays local.  
The Zone @ 91.3: member since 1987 
Welcome to Our Newest Members!  

Bell Mobility - Hillside Ave

Chamber Name Tags
In response to members' requests, The Chamber has redesigned the name tags Chamber members can purchase. We increased the prominence of your business name while keeping your name clearly visible.

Need to get one of the snazzy new Chamber Name tags? Email us to order yours today.